Publishing A Book: 101

Since the release of Diaries of an Emotional Prostitute, I’ve had requests from people asking for tips to getting their books published. I responded to some requests through e-mail, yet others still wait for my response. The truth of the matter is that there are far more questions than I have time to answer individually. Thus, I’ve drafted this response that will help almost EVERYONE in their journey to getting published.

1. Write. Edit. Rewrite. The first step to having your work published is to write. If you experience writers block, find ways to get through it without compromising the quality of your work. A lot of writers find it helpful to step away from the project for a few hours (or days) to gain fresh perspectives. However; this part can also be tricky. Be sure to remember that you are stepping away to gain clarity, not as a means to abandon your project. Set deadlines to stay on target.

You should also be sure to reread your work after a few days, just to make sure it flows the way you intend. Often times we get so caught up in our thoughts that we don’t realize our project is compromised. By stepping away, and returning to it later, you are placing yourself in the seat of the reader. Surprisingly, you may notice that your writing isn’t as clear as you intended. Thus, you will need to do edits to make sure that your message to the reader is clear. It also doesn’t hurt to have someone else read your work for editorial purposes. There’s no limit to how many times you reread your work. [Whenever I write a piece, I reread it an infinite amount of times before publishing. Even when it’s published I reread it again to make sure that I relayed the information in the manner in which I intended.]

Rewriting your work can be an ego bruiser. Especially if you really like how much of it is worded. My advice to you is to keep your ego at bay and remember that if you created two great lines, you can create hundreds more. Quality is not just in a sentence, but rather in the entire piece. Readers can tell when you sacrifice quality, and they will forever remember that. It’s better to rewrite your work in a way that is appeasing to you AND your readers. If you do this every time, you will master the art of leaving a lasting impression.

2. Create a Savvy Site. Since you’re about to be published, you might as well create a site for people to easily learn more about you. Your website doesn’t have to be only about your book. Be sure to showcase your author bio, past or current projects, beliefs, and links to your social networking sites. Sites aren’t generally free, but you can probably find some free hosting sites if you do a Google search. The sites I trust most are listed below.

    1. GoDaddy.com
    2. Yahoo.com
    3. HomeStead.com
    4. OfficeLive.com – Free but limited

If you aren’t tech savvy, you can probably pay someone to create a site for you. If you don’t know anyone, I would recommend a professional like Duane Davis. His e-mail is rotty120us@yahoo.com.  

3. Publishing Houses. If you are looking to be picked up by a publisher, you should know all that is involved in that process. You will need to draft query letters and contact dozens of literary agents. Literary agents work for a publishing company and decide which material gets passed along to the decision makers. If your query grasps their attention they will ask you to send more information, and possibly give you a book deal. If a publishing house gives you a book deal, they will provide you with an editor, book designer, and take care of getting your product on store shelves. However, it’s important to keep in mind that if you turn your work over to a publishing house, you may

    1. Be asked to change the names of characters or scratch scenes from your book;
    2. Not have an active voice in the marketing of your work;
    3. Not have an active voice in the layout of your book design;
    4. Have to market your book to local media outlets to gain attention; and
    5. Only get 2% – 7% royalty on the number of books sold. 7% is a generous amount; most new authors get between 2% and 3%.

Self-publishing is guaranteed publishing, but it’s not without its hurdles. The benefit of self-publishing is that you keep much of your profit and you have control over how your book is marketed. The downside to self-publishing is that you pay upfront costs. These can include book printing, editorial fees, press releases, and posters. The benefit to self publishing is that reputable online companies are getting use to the idea of allowing authors to publish their work. Companies you can check out are listed below.

  1. Amazon.com
  2. Lulu.com
  3. Goodreads.com

Last, beware of vanity publishers (publishers that guarantee publishing for an upfront fee). Remember that it’s NOT okay for you to pay to get published…EVER; unless you are self publishing! If you are uncertain about a company, check the Better Business Bureau online. If the company has poor ratings, or no ratings, then don’t bother. In addition, if you do a Google search and there are too many complaints on a particular company, don’t entrust them with your valuable project. I mentioned before that you shouldn’t take short cuts in writing your project; the same goes for getting published. Do your homework. Vanity publishers will dig in your pockets before you have anything to give.

I hope these tips give you a clearer grasp on how you can meet your aspirations. If you need more help, feel free to contact me at Beatrice{at}beatricemcclearn.com

Happy Publishing!

-Beatrice McClearn

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